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Ptolemy's Gate (Bartimaeus Series #3)

Ptolemy's Gate (Bartimaeus Series #3)

4.7 169
by Jonathan Stroud, Simon Jones (Read by)

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Three years have passed since the magician Nathaniel helped prevent a cataclysmic attack on London. Now an important member of the British government, he grapples with numerous problems: foreign wars are going badly, Britain’s enemies are mounting attacks close to London, and rebellion is growing among the commoners. Increasingly imperious and distracted,


Three years have passed since the magician Nathaniel helped prevent a cataclysmic attack on London. Now an important member of the British government, he grapples with numerous problems: foreign wars are going badly, Britain’s enemies are mounting attacks close to London, and rebellion is growing among the commoners. Increasingly imperious and distracted, Nathaniel is treating Bartimaeus worse than ever. The long-suffering djinni is growing weak and vulnerable from too much time in this world, and his patience is nearing its end.
Meanwhile, undercover in London, Nathaniel’s longtime rival Kitty has been stealthily completing her research on magic, demons, and Bartimaeus’s past. She has a daring plan that she hopes will break the endless cycle of conflict between djinn and humans. But will anyone listen to what she has to say?
In this glorious conclusion to the Bartimaeus Trilogy, the destinies of Bartimaeus, Nathaniel, and Kitty converge once more. For the first time, we will learn the secrets of Bartimaeus’s past, and catch a glimpse into the mysterious Other Place–the world of demons–as together, the threesome faces treacherous magicians, a complex conspiracy, and a rebellious faction of demons. To survive, they must test the limits of this world and question the deepest parts of themselves. And most difficult of all–they will have to learn to trust one another.

Editorial Reviews

Plot themes converge in this exciting grand conclusion to Jonathan Stroud's fantasy adventure Bartimaeus Trilogy. In Ptolemy's Gate, Nathaniel, Kitty, and Bartimaeus live out their destinies in unexpected ways.
Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW wrote, "This final volume in the Bartimaeus Trilogy fills in the djinn's backstory, exposing a vulnerability not seen before, and preparing readers for a potent ending that is at once unexpected and wholly earned." Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is part of the series about Bartimaeus, a dijinni with attitude, and his young, struggling magician-master, Nathaniel. As the story begins, three years have passed and we find Bartimaeus in a weakened state from having been in Nathaniel's world too long. Nathaniel has risen politically and is an important member of the British government but is worried about maintaining his position. Meanwhile, Kitty, Nathaniel's long time rival, is still working to bring equality to people and djinns alike. In addition to all their conflicting motivations, there is also a complex conspiracy, rebellious and treacherous demons, and each main character's desire for and fear of trust. And if that were not enough, there is also the revealing of Bartimaeus' intriguing past. This is a fast-paced, involving read! 2006, Hyperion, Ages 12 up.
—Susie Wilde
The concluding volume of The Bartimaeus Trilogy begins with a foiled assassin attempt in 125 BC Alexandria, Egypt, and then jumps to nineteenth-century London. Three years after his last adventure, readers find Nathaniel promoted to Information Minister, writing propaganda to build support among the commoners for the British war with the United States. Bartimaeus has been in service to Nathaniel for too long without time to recharge his essence in the Other Place and is barely able to perform his duties, although his insults or ego have not diminished in the slightest. Unbeknownst to Nathaniel, Kitty is still alive and working for the Resistance, a group of commoners battling the injustice of the magicians in power. Fans of the series will delight in learning more about Bartimaeus's early days in the service of Ptolemy, a history that Kitty confirms in a "fleeting mention in a footnote" in her research-Bartimaeus is chagrined to learn that his exploits have not been better documented. Working together, the three use this knowledge and the magical tools from the earlier stories, the Amulet of Samarkand and Gladstone's staff, to end the reign of slavery for the demons and to usurp the power of the ruling magicians. As in the earlier books, adventure and humor are in no short supply. The weakened djinni Bartimaeus appears in the form of a hamster and an oozing slime of fish stock soup before regaining his dignity and ultimately his freedom. Fans of the first two books will be sorry to have the fun come to an end. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Hyperion, 512p., Ages 11 to 18.
—Cindy Dobrez
Fans of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy will not be disappointed by this third and final book. It is three years after The Golem's Eye, and Nathaniel is now 17 and more ruthless than ever. Bearing the brunt of his master's ambition is Bartimaeus, who has been trapped in the earthly realm far too long. Without the reviving respite of The Other Place, Bartimaeus's essence has become dangerously depleted. Yet Nathaniel obsessively continues to send the djinni in search of those who plot rebellion against the British Empire. Amongst the rebels is the commoner, Kitty Jones. Despite the danger, she has remained in London, determined to learn all that she can about the magicians and the demons they are able to summon. Unfortunately, there is also a plot brewing within the government. The magicians' vanity coupled with their unquenchable lust for power will lead them to a course of action that will endanger everyone. To save London, Nathaniel must put aside his pride and establish a partnership with Bartimaeus that will require trust if it is to succeed. Bartimaeus's essence may be weakened, but his delightfully witty comments still liberally pepper the narrative, making this book a joy to read. Ptolemy's Gate decisively completes the tale that began with The Amulet of Samarkand. Everything that happens is completely logical, based upon the events that came before, and still there are wonderfully unexpected moments. There are no neat endings. Everyone suffers loss whether unwillingly or through deliberate sacrifice. Yet the ending is appropriate, and it is not by any means disappointing. Fantasy fans who have not yet picked up this series should do so at once. They arein for a treat! This book is a must purchase for any collection. (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book Three). KLIATT Codes: SA*--Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2006, Hyperion, Miramax, 501p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Heather Lisowski
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-The loquacious djinni introduced in Amulet of Samarkand (2003) and Golem's Eye (2004, both Hyperion/Miramax) is back, or, more accurately, he hasn't left in three years. While Bartimaeus retains all of his wit and wisdom, his essence suffers severely from lack of rest. Nathaniel, now Information Minister, spends his time writing propaganda to bolster the common folks' belief that England is winning its foreign wars and tracking down traitors within the government. Kitty Jones has gone into hiding, apprenticing herself to a magician and learning enough from her master and through research to summon Bartimaeus herself. When Nathaniel finds Kitty, the two of them and the djinni must use all their strength and cunning to defeat the most dangerous demons they have yet encountered, demons that take over the bodies of the government magicians. Ptolemy's Gate is an exciting and eminently satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, footnotes and all. This time, readers learn more about Bartimaeus's past and his connection to the loinclothed boy whose likeness he wears. Kitty's strength and intelligence shine through, and Nathaniel's inherent compassion emerges from the mask of John Mandrake. This is a must-have for libraries that purchased the first two books. For those that didn't, buy all three at once for readers who want something that is literate, entertaining, and exciting.- Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The trilogy wraps up with excitement, adventure and an unexpected wallop of heart and soul. Three years have passed since Bartimaeus told Nathaniel that Kitty was killed by a golem. Nathaniel lives as John Mandrake now, coldly producing government propaganda. Mandrake continues to summon Bartimaeus as a slave-djinni despite the suffering it causes. Commoners (including Kitty, secretly alive) stumblingly rebel against the magicians (politicians). But when a real uprising bursts forth, it takes a shocking form and requires stunning sacrifices and terrifying levels of trust from all three protagonists. Bartimaeus's trademark footnotes are less snarky this time, including those in the chapters about his relationship with Ptolemy in Egypt from 126 to 124 b.c. The djinni, and the rare humans who care, don't solve one profound problem: Magicians get their power from summoning unwilling djinni into slavery. However, Stroud masterfully weaves together four characters and an unearthly realm of existence in an explosive culmination that reaches back to the first two volumes and infuses them with layers of psychological and moral complexity. The volumes in this trilogy should be read in order. (Fantasy. YA)$150,000 ad/promo; first printing of 250,000

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Bartimaeus Series , #3
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 6.03(h) x 1.35(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bartimaeus Trilogy #3 -- Ptolemy's Gate
by Jonathan Stroud

Alexandria: 125 BC

The assassins dropped into the palace grounds at midnight, four fleet shadows dark against the wall. The fall was high, the ground was hard; they made no more sound on impact than the pattering of rain. Three seconds they crouched there, low and motionless, sniffing at the air. Then away they stole, through the dark gardens, among the tamarisks and date palms, toward the quarters where the boy lay at rest. A cheetah on a chain stirred in its sleep; far away in the desert, jackals cried.

They went on pointed toe-tips, leaving no trace in the long wet grass. Their robes flittered at their backs, fragmenting their shadows into wisps and traces. What could be seen? Nothing but leaves shifting in the breeze. What could be heard? Noth-ing but the wind sighing among the palm fronds. No sight, no noise. A crocodile djinni, standing sentry at the sacred pool, was undisturbed though they passed within a scale's breadth of his tail. For humans, it wasn't badly done.

The heat of the day was a memory; the air was chill. Above the palace a cold round moon shone down, slathering silver across the roofs and courtyards.

Away beyond the wall, the great city murmured in the night: wheels on dirt roads, distant laughter from the pleasure district along the quay, the tide lapping at its stones. Lamplight shone in windows, embers glowed on roof hearths, and from the top of the tower beside the harbor gate the great watch fire burned its message out to sea. Its image danced like imp-light on the waves.

At their posts, the guards played games of chance. In the pillared halls, the servants slept on beds of rushes. The palace gates were locked by triple bolts, each thicker than a man. No eyes were turned to the western gardens, where death came calling, secret as a scorpion, on four pairs of silent feet.

The boy's window was on the first floor of the palace. Four black shadows hunched beneath the wall. The leader made a signal. One by one they pressed against the stonework; one by one they began to climb, suspended by their fingertips and the nails of their big toes.

In this manner they had scaled marble columns and waterfalls of ice from Massilia to Hadhramaut; the rough stone blocks were easy for them now. Up they went, like bats upon a cave wall. Moonlight glinted on bright things suspended in their mouths.

The first of the assassins reached the window ledge: he sprang tigerlike upon it and peered into the chamber.

Moonlight spilled across the room; the pallet was lit as if by day. The boy lay sleeping, motionless as one already dead. His dark hair fell loose upon the cushions, his pale lamb"s throat shone against the silks.

The assassin took his dagger from between his teeth. With quiet deliberation, he surveyed the room, gauging its extent and the possibility of traps. It was large, shadowy, empty of ostentation. Three pillars supported the ceiling. In the distance stood a door of teak, barred on the inside. A chest, half filled with clothes, sat open against the wall. He saw a royal chair draped with a discarded cloak, sandals lying on the floor, an onyx basin filled with water. A faint trace of perfume hung on the air. The assassin, for whom such scents were decadent and corrupt, wrinkled his nose.

His eyes narrowed; he reversed the dagger, holding it between finger and thumb by its shining, gleaming tip. It quivered once, twice. He was gauging the range here-he'd never missed a target yet, from Carthage to old Colchis. Every knife he'd thrown had found its throat.

His wrist flickered; the silver arc of the knife's flight slice the air in two. It landed with a soft noise, hilt-deep in the cushion, an inch from the child's neck.

The assassin paused in doubt, still crouched upon the sill. The back of his hands bore the crisscross scars that marked him as an adept of the dark academy. An adept never missed his target. The throw had been exact, precisely calibrated . . . Yet it had missed. Had the victim moved a crucial fraction? Impossible -- the boy was fast asleep. From his person he pulled a second dagger.

Another careful aim (the assassin was conscious of his brothers behind and below him on the wall: he felt the grim weight of their impatience). A flick of the wrist, a momentary arc --

With a soft noise, the second dagger landed in the cushion, an inch to the other side of the prince's neck. As he slept, perhaps he dreamed-a smile twitched ghostlike at the corners of his mouth.

Behind the black gauze of the scarf that masked his face, the assassin frowned. From within his tunic he drew a strip of fabric, twined tightly into a cord. In seven years since the Hermit had ordered his first kill, his garrote had never snapped, his hands had never failed him.

With leopard's stealth, he slid from the sill and stole across the moonlit floor.

In his bed the boy murmured something. He stirred beneath his sheet. The assassin froze rigid, a black statue in the center of the room. Behind, at the window, two of his companions insinuated themselves upon the sill. They waited, watching.

The boy gave a little sigh and fell silent once more. He lay face up amongst his cushions, a dagger's hilt protruding on either side.

Seven seconds passed. The assassin moved again. He stole around behind the cushions, looping the ends of the cord around his hands. Now he was directly above the child; he bent swiftly, set the cord upon the sleeping throat --

The boy's eyes opened. He reached up a hand, grasped the assassin's left wrist and, without exertion, swung him headfirst into the nearest wall, snapping his neck like a reed stalk. He flung off his silken sheet and, with a bound, stood free, facing the window.

Up on the sill, silhouetted against the moon, two assassins hissed like rock snakes. Their comrade's death was an affront to their collective pride. One plucked from his robe a pipe of bone; from a cavity between his teeth he sucked a pellet, eggshell thin, filled with poison. He set the pipe to his lips, blew once: the pellet shot across the room, directed at the child's heart.

The boy gave a skip; the pellet shattered against a pillar, spattering it with liquid. A plume of green vapor drizzled through the air.

The two assassins leaped into the room; one this way, the other that. Each now held a scimitar in his hand; they spun them in complex flourishes about their heads, dark eyes scanning the room.

The boy was gone. The room was still. Green poison nibbled at the pillar; the stones fizzed with it.

Never once in seven years, from Antioch to Pergamum, had these assassins lost a victim.

Their arms stopped moving; they slowed their pace, listening intently, tasting the air for the taint of fear.

From behind a pillar in the center of the room came the faintest scuffling, like a mouse flinching in its bed of straw.

The assassins glanced at each other; they inched forward, toe-tip by toe-tip, scimitars raised. One went to the right, past the crumpled body of his fellow. One went to the left, beside the golden chair, draped with the cloak of kings. They moved like ghosts around the margins of the room, circling in upon the pillar from both sides.

Behind the pillar, a furtive movement: a boy's shape hiding in the shadows. Both assassins saw it; both raised their scimitars and darted in, from left, from right. Both struck with mantis-speed.

A dual cry, gargling and ragged. From round the pillar came a stumbling, rolling mess of arms and legs: the two assassins, locked together in a tight embrace, each one skewered on the other's sword. They fell forward into the pool of moonlight in the center of the chamber, twitched gently and lay quiet.

Silence. The windowsill hung vacant, nothing in it but the moon. A cloud passed across the bright round disc, blacking out the bodies on the floor. The signal fire in the harbor tower cast faint redness on the sky. All was still. The cloud drifted out to sea, the light returned. From behind the pillar walked the boy, bare feet soundless on the floor, his body stiff and wary, as if he sensed a pressure in the room. With careful steps, he neared the window. Slowly, slowly, closer, closer . . . He saw the shrouded mass of gardens, the trees and sentry towers. He noticed the texture of the sill, the way the moonlight caught its contours. Closer . . . Now his hands rested on the stone itself. He leaned forward to look down into the courtyard at the bottom of the wall. His thin white throat extended out . . .

Nothing. The courtyard was empty. The wall below was sheer and smooth, its stones picked out by moonlight. The boy listened to the quietness. He tapped his fingers on the sill, shrugged, and turned inside.

Then the fourth assassin, clinging like a thin black spider to the stones above the window, dropped down behind him.

His feet made the noise of feathers falling into snow. The boy heard; he twisted, turned. A knife flashed, swiped, was deflected by a desperate hand-its edge clinked against stone. Iron fingers grappled at the boy's neck; his legs were knocked from under him. He fell, landing hard upon the floor. The assassin's weight was on him. His hands were pinioned. He could not move.

The knife descended. This time it met its mark.

So it had finished as it must. Crouching above the body of the boy, the assassin allowed himself a breath-his first since his colleagues had met their ends. He sat back on his sinewy haunches, loosed his grip upon the knife, and let the boy's wrist drop free. He inclined his head in the traditional mark of respect to the fallen victim.

At which point the boy reached up and plucked the knife from the center of his chest. The assassin blinked in consternation.

"Not silver, you see," the boy said. "Mistake." He raised his hand.

An explosion in the room. Green sparks cascaded from the window.

The boy rose to his feet and tossed the knife upon the pallet. He adjusted his kilt and blew some flakes of ash from off his arms. Then he coughed loudly.

The faintest of scrapings. Across the room the golden chair shifted. The cloak draped over it was nudged aside. Out from between its legs scrambled another boy, identical to the first, though flushed and tousled from many hours of hiding.

He stood over the bodies of the assassins, breathing hard. Then he stared up at the ceiling. On it was the blackened outline of a man. It had a kind of startled look.

The boy lowered his gaze to the impassive doppelganger watching him across the moonlit room. I gave a mock salute.

Ptolemy brushed the dark hair from his eyes and bowed.

"Thank you, Rekhyt," he said.


Times change.

Once, long ago, I was second to none. I could whirl through the air on a wisp of cloud and churn up dust storms with my passing. I could bore through mountains, raise castles on pillars of glass, fell forests with a single breath. I carved temples from the sinews of the earth and led armies against the legions of the dead, so that the harpers of a dozen lands played music in my memory and the chroniclers of a dozen centuries scribbled down my exploits. Yes! I was Bartimaeus -- cheetah-quick, strong as a bull elephant, deadly as a striking krait!

But that was then.

And now . . . Well, right now I was lying in the middle of a midnight road, flat on my back and getting flatter. Why? Because on top of me was an upturned building. Its weight bore down. Muscles strained, tendons popped; try as I might, I could not push free.

In principle there's nothing shameful about struggling when a building falls upon you. I've had such problems before; it's part of the job description.

But it does help if the edifice in question is glamorous and large. And in this case, the fearsome construction that had been ripped from its foundations and hurled upon me from a great height was neither big nor sumptuous. It wasn't a temple wall or a granite obelisk. It wasn't the marbled roof of an emperor's palace.

No. The object that was pinning me haplessly to the ground, like a butterfly on a collector's tray, was of twentieth-century origin and of very specific function.

Oh, all right, it was a public lavatory. Quite sizable, mind, but even so. I was glad no harpers or chroniclers happened to be passing.

In mitigation, I must report that the lavatory in question had concrete walls and a very thick iron roof, the cruel aura of which helped weaken my already feeble limbs. And there were doubtless various pipes and cisterns and desperately heavy taps inside, all adding to the total mass. But it was still a pretty poor show for a djinni of my stature to be squashed by it. In fact, the abject humiliation bothered me more than the crushing weight.

All around me the water from the snapped and broken pipework trickled away mournfully into the gutters. Only my head projected free of one of the concrete walls; my body was entirely trapped.

So much for the negatives. The good side was that I was unable to rejoin the battle that was taking place up and down the suburban street.

It was a fairly low-key sort of battle, especially on the first plane. Nothing much could be seen. The house lights were all out, the electric street lamps had been tied in knots; the road was dark as an inkstone, a solid slab of black. A few stars shone coldly overhead. Once or twice indistinct blue-green lights appeared and faded, like explosions far off underwater.

Things hotted up on the second plane, where two rival flocks of birds could be seen wheeling and swooping at each other, buffeting savagely with wings, beaks, claws and tails. Such loutish behavior would have been reprehensible amongst seagulls or other down-market fowl; the fact that these were eagles made it all the more shocking.

On the higher planes the bird guises were discarded altogether, and the true shapes of the fighting djinn came into focus.3 Seen from this perspective, the night sky was veritably awash with rushing forms, contorted shapes, and sinister activity.

Fair play was entirely disregarded. I saw one spiked knee go crunching into an opponent's belly, sending him spinning away behind a chimney to recover. Disgraceful! If I'd been up there I'd have had no truck with that.

But I wasn't up there. I'd been put out of action.

Now, if it had been an afrit or marid who'd done the damage, I could have lived with it. But it wasn't. In fact my conqueror was none but a third-level djinni, the kind I could normally roll up in my pocket and smoke after dinner.

I could still see her now from where I lay, her nimble feminine grace rather undermined by her pig's head and the long rake she clutched in her trotters. There she was, standing on a postbox, laying left and right with such brio that the government forces, of which I was nominally a part, backed off and left her well alone. She was a formidable customer, with experience in Japan if her kimono was anything to go by. In truth, I'd been misled by her rustic appearance and had ambled close without upping my Shields. Before I knew it, there was a piercing oink, a blur of movement and -- whump! -- she'd left me pinned in the road, too weary to break free.

Little by little, however, my side was gaining the upper hand. See! Here strode Cormocodran, snapping off a lamppost and swinging it like a twig; there raced Hodge, loosing off a volley of poison darts. The enemy dwindled and began to adopt ever more fatalistic guises. I saw several large insects buzzing and dodging, one or two wisps twisting frantically, a couple of rats heading for the hills. Only the she-pig stubbornly maintained her original appearance. My colleagues surged forward. One beetle went down in a corkscrew cloud of smoke; a wisp was blown apart by a double Detonation. The enemy fled; even the pig realized the game was up. She leaped gracefully onto a porch, somersaulted up onto a roof, and vanished. The victorious djinn set off in hot pursuit.

It was quiet in the street. Water trickled past my ears. From topknot to toes, my essence was one long ache. I gave a heartfelt sigh.

"Dear me," a voice chuckled. "A damsel in distress."

I should have mentioned that in contrast to all the centaurs and ogres at my side, I'd been wearing a human guise that night. It happened to be that of a girl: slender, long dark hair, feisty expression. Not based on anybody in particular, of course.

The speaker appeared round the edge of the public convenience and paused to sharpen a nail against a snaggy bit of pipe. No delicate guise for him; as usual he was decked out as a one-eyed giant, with lumpy muscles and long blond hair braided in a complex and faintly girly way. He wore a shapeless blue-gray smock that would have been considered hideous in a medieval fishing village.

"A poor sweet damsel, too frail to prize herself free."

The cyclops considered one of his nails carefully; finding it a little long, he bit at it savagely with his small sharp teeth and rounded it off against the pebbledash wall of the lavatory.

"Mind helping me up?" I inquired.

The cyclops looked up and down the empty road. "Better watch out, love," he said, leaning casually on the building so that its downward pressure increased. "There's dangerous characters abroad tonight. Djinn and foliots . . . and naughty imps, who might do you a mischief."

"Can it, Ascobol," I snarled. "You know full well it's me."

The cyclops's single eye batted becomingly under its layer of mascara. "Bartimaeus?" he said in wonder. "Can it possibly be . . . ? Surely the great Bartimaeus would not be so easily snared! You must be some imp or mouler cheekily adopting his voice and . . . But, no-I am wrong! It is you." He raised his eyebrow in an affectation of shock. "Incredible! To think the noble Bartimaeus has come to this! The master will be sorely disappointed."

I summoned my last reserves of dignity. "All masters are temporary," I replied. "All humiliations likewise. I bide my time."

"Of course, of course." Ascobol swung his apelike arms and did a little pirouette. "Well spoken, Bartimaeus! You do not let your decline depress you. No matter that your great days are over, that you are now as redundant as a will-o'-the-wisp! No matter that your task tomorrow is as likely to be damp-dusting our master's bedroom as roaming free upon the air. You are an example to us all." I smiled, showing my white teeth. "Ascobol," I said, "it is not I who have declined, but my adversaries. I have fought with Faquarl of Sparta, with Tlaloc of Tollan, with clever Tchue of the Kalahari-our conflicts split the earth, gouged rivers. I survived. Who is my enemy now? A knock-kneed cyclops in a skirt. When I get out from here, I don't see this new conflict lasting long."

The cyclops started back, as if stung. "Such cruel threats! You should be ashamed. We are on the same side, are we not? Doubtless you have good reasons for skulking out the fight under this restroom. Being polite, I will not trouble to inquire, though I may say that you lack your normal courtesy."

"Two years' continual service has worn it all away," I said. "I am left irritable and jaded, with a perpetual itch in my essence that I cannot scratch. And that makes me dangerous, as you will shortly learn. Now, for the last time, Ascobol, get this off."

Well, there were a few more tuts and pouts, but my posturing had its effect. With a single shrug of his hairy shoulders, the cyclops levered the lavatory up and off me, sending it clattering away onto the opposite pavement. A somewhat corrugated girl got unsteadily to her feet.

"At last," I said. "You took your own sweet time about it."

The cyclops plucked a bit of debris from his smock. "Sorry," he said, "but I was too busy winning the battle to help you out before. Still, all's well. Our master will be pleased-by my efforts, anyhow." He glanced at me sidelong.

Now that I was vertical I had no intention of squabbling further. I considered the damage to the houses all around. Not too bad. A few broken roofs, smashed windows . . . The skirmish had been successfully contained. "A French lot?" I asked.

The cyclops shrugged, which was some feat given that he lacked a neck. "Maybe. Possibly the Czechs or Spanish. Who can tell? They're all nibbling at us nowadays. Well, time presses and I must check on the pursuit. I leave you to nurse your aches and pains, Bartimaeus. Why not try peppermint tea or a camomile footbath, like other geriatrics? Adieu!"

The cyclops hitched up his skirts and, with a ponderous spring, launched himself into the air. Wings appeared on his back; with great plowing strokes he drew away. He had all the grace of a filing cabinet, but at least he'd got the energy to fly. I hadn't. Not until I'd had a breather, anyhow.

The dark-haired girl crept across to a broken square of chimney in a nearby garden. Slowly, with the gasps and gingerly movements of an invalid, she slumped down into a sitting position and cupped her head in her hands. She closed her eyes.

Just a brief rest. Five minutes would do.

Time passed, dawn came. The cold stars faded in the sky.

Meet the Author

Jonathan Stroud is a former editor who has already published several children's books in England, where he lives.

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Ptolemy's Gate 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 169 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
He's back! But this time around, the smart-mouthed djinni, Bartimaeus, is exhausted from too much work and not enough time to recover in his netherworld home. It's like they always say, "All work and no play makes Bartimaeus a dull supernatural being." Although, in this case, he's anything but dull. He's tired, weak, sharp-tongued, homicidal, and insulting. But definitely not dull.

In this third installment of THE BARTIMAEUS TRILOGY, the hero is again a djinni who has little respect for humans and even less interest in their petty wars and government squabbles. The magicians who rule England in this series of books insist on summoning Bartimaeus and scores of other demons to fight their wars, provide magical assistance of all sorts, and generally do their bidding. The demons see this treatment as slavery, and for good reason. What would you call forced servitude for no pay under threat of intense pain?

PTOLEMY'S GATE opens to find poor Bartimaeus stretched to the breaking point by his magician master, Nathaniel. A war in America is going poorly, the commoners of London are growing tired of the ruling class of magicians, and young Nathaniel is looked upon with jealousy and mistrust by his co-workers. As a result of all of these threats, Nathaniel rationalizes the need to keep Bartimaeus around to help him deal with the many problems that he faces. After a long association with the djinni, it is almost as if Nathaniel trusts his reluctant servant. And it is almost as if Bartimaeus has a shred of concern for human dealings. Almost.

PTOLEMY'S GATE is an excellent capstone to the extraordinary Bartimaeus series. I enjoyed all of these books immensely and recommend them to anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy. Like the first two books, THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND and THE GOLEM'S EYE, this one is filled with humor and excitement. These books also offer some social commentary for those who want to pay attention to such things. For example, the ruling class of magicians in these books take extreme measures to maintain their own positions, while claiming that they are really just interested in keeping the masses safe. There are resistance groups that oppose the government, and they engage in acts of terrorism to free themselves from the magicians' oppressive yoke.

The entiretrilogy is a fun-filled pleasure to read. Doubtless it would be possible to read PTOLEMY'S GATE without having read the previous two books, but I would not recommend it. There is quite a bit of background that would be missed, and the story would definitely suffer. While the first book in the series, THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND, could probably stand alone, the second two (THE GOLEM'S EYE and PTOLEMY'S GATE) should be read together. And once the last page of PTOLEMY'S GATE is turned, readers will undoubtedly wish they could summon Bartimaeus back for more.
Ralnon More than 1 year ago
I am deeply impressed by Mr. Stroud's masterpiece work in his writing, and I sincerely applaud him for it. I myself have read it over and over again, and I am moved by some parts of the story, horrified at others, yet awed by all parts. How could Jonathan surpass this trilogy with another?; I myself personally yearn for another series, yet I know not even Stroud can exceed it with what he has already wrought about. I myself find it a fitting and wonderful conclusion, with many twists, tragedies and moments both touching and suspenseful. Stroud has clearly proven he is a master of English, yet also has a firm grasp of humor, excitement and modern society too, which is also evident and appealing. I thank Mr. Stroud for bringing this marvel to us all, and once again I applaud him for this novel and series!
Godswork More than 1 year ago
Fun and interesting characters that exist in a world where there is only one limit, imagination. Immerse yourself in a world that wraps around imagination, courage and hope.
Selbe More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the whole trilogy, this book being the best of the three. Bartimaeus is so witty and clever, you can't help but smile, eager to go on to the next page. Jonathan Stroud ends the book so nicely. I wouldn't want it any other way. I'd say the only way you could completely hate the series is if you stopped halfway through the first book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I abosoulty loved this book all of the way though. in the first book i wanted John and Bartimaeus to become close, and acually trust one another but that totaly went down hill in the second book. but then i came to this book and there were some touch and go moments between them, and then the very end just totaly tore my heart out. I cried none stop for at least ten minutes sobs and all because finally that bond that i thought wasn't going to ever come out came out. I in a way knew that John was going to do it but it still took me by suprise. it might not effect you in the same way, but it still is an awsome book. But it wont effect you nearly as much if you don't read the first two, so i highly advise it. any who if you have any questions Im me or e-mail me. my sn is CheeCheeCherry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So this was the best in the trilogy. However, I wish that there was another book abt Kitty and Nathaniel and if Kitty ever got Nathaniels last message and all that. Still tho, the ending somehow fit even tho it was sad. Spoiler alert- I find it ironic and sweet how Nat turned out to do the same thing as Ptolmy. Best in the series!!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I have read it multiple times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was above and beyond one of the best series I've read, up there with His Dark Materials Trilogy and The Fire Within books. Stroud was as creative with this last installment as he was with the other two, The Golem's Eye and the Amulet of Samankard. I enjoy Bartimaeus's refreshing personality and interesting footnotes, along with Nathaniel's continued fight with himself. It was magical and outstanding, with an agreeably fitting but still very saddening ending. I love Ptolemy's character also, as if put in that same position, I would also be fascinated. I'm glad of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus's accomplishments, along with Kitty's outstanding performance when doing her highest held part. I'm glad that all characters were fully developed in the end, leaving no hanging strings except for when Bartimaeus finally leaves the human world at the end. But that can be securely tied up with the imagination. Stroud did an outstanding job in which no writer could dare try to copy. His style of writing is refreshing and unique with his devilish characters and heartfelt comedic indifferences between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. This whole Trilogy was enjoyable and well-written, and is easily and fantastically imagined. Don't ever let this book be turned into a movie. All movies ruin great books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kitty ends up loving nat but he dies at the end, breaking his promise that he would come back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
@The Foot-Notes are there, and you really do not have to, as you say, "Find-Page". When you've tapped the Foot-Note number, it takes you to an ordered list of all the Side-Notes contained in that same chapter. From there a little temporary button displaying the word "Back" should appear. It takes you right back to the page the little number was on. Or just tap the note-number and you get redirected to the word it was next to@
acody13 More than 1 year ago
I gave it one star due to its format on Nook. I am sure the book itself is far better than one star- I haven't read the book yet- but if you plan to buy this in NOOK - you will miss out on the footnotes (where a lot of sarcasm/wit from Bartimaeus is displayed) Instead the footnotes - Bartimaeus' asides- are at the very end of the book. You can click on the footnote number, but you are forced then to 'find page' and go all the way back to where you were. Totally annoying!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a truly amazing tale. Jonathan Stroud once again weaves an amazing, complex story by using just the right mixture of suspense, humor, and action. Nat is a busy man. As a high ranking government official, he spends most of his time being worried Britain's failing war campaigns in the Americas and Prague, and how the Empire was falling apart. He also spends time being worried about rivals, like Jane Farrar. In fact, he is so busy, he doesn't even have time to listen to Bartimaeus's pleadings for dismissal, and ends up turning what was a powerful djinni into a complaining weakling. And Bartimaeus is not pleased. It just gets even worse when Nat sends Bartimaeus on a chase around town and almost kills Bartimaeus as a result. And Quentin Makepeace ends up becoming another variable in the equation, too, with his glorified play version of PM Rupert Deveraux's ascent to "Prime-Minister-hood", part of a complicated plan formulated by a spirit in the Other Place, helped by Faquarl. And Nat will have to give up something dear to him in order to save the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My only rrgret about this series is tht it had to end
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Read it
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kaylic More than 1 year ago
I am really happy that i read this.